Judge praises brave elderly woman for locking brazen burglar inside her Hartlepool home

A brave woman locked a brazen burglar in her home after he barged his way in and stole her purse in front of her disabled husband and young great-granddaughter.

Wednesday, 24th February 2021, 7:00 am

Brian Kerr, 58, who has over 200 offences on his record, has a history of targeting elderly and vulnerable people and burgling them, Teesside Crown Court heard.

On February 15 last year he forced his way inside the victim’s bungalow at Throston on the pretext of asking about a fridge in her garden.

Jane Foley, prosecuting, said: “He proceeded to barge past [the victim] and went directly to the living room where he immediately picked up her purse.”

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Brian Kerr has over 200 crimes on his record including 15 house burglaries.

The victim, who was at home with her husband who has disabilities, demanded it back but Kerr denied taking it.

Ms Foley added: “The victim locked both the front and back doors and prevented him from leaving.”

Kerr ran into a bedroom and jumped from a window but ran into a carer who had arrived for a visit.

"As he was in the process of jumping from that window one of the carers approached the defendant who said ‘take one more step and I will knock your block off’," said Ms Foley.

The carer grabbed the victim’s purse from Kerr’s pocket but he managed to run away.

"The purse was returned but understandably all those who witnessed the incident were shocked and upset,” added Ms Foley.

“This included [the victim’s] great-granddaughter.”

The court heard the girl was left unsettled and frightened that Kerr would ‘come and get her’.

Around three weeks before the burglary Kerr committed a similar crime against a vulnerable 81-year-old man which saw him jailed for 34 months.

Martin Scarborough, defending, asked for Kerr, of Salisbury Place, Hartlepool to be given credit for pleading guilty and the judge consider the total time he will serve in prison.

Judge Jonathan Carroll jailed him for 48 months. He commended the carer and the victim calling her “incredibly brave”.

Judge Carroll added: “There’s a pattern here of your offending in early 2020 of targeting elderly, vulnerable people and burgling them with utter disregard for their well being.

"The time has come to take you out of circulation for as long as I’m legitimately able to do so.”

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